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Discussion Starter #1
We are in Michigan and I am preparing the soil for our first large garden. I have a bunch of leaves from the two maples up front and my question is, can I til these leaves into the soil now to compost over winter or is this a bad idea?

Our soil is kind of rich but very hard and I thought this might add some nitrogen and loosen things up a bit.....

How much would be too much....

Thank you in advance.
 

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It shouldn't hurt a thing adding the leaves, and it will loosen up the soil.
Eventhough you will be tilling them in, I would also add something with more nitrogen along with the high carbon leaves, ie. grass clipping, manure etc.
Here's an article on the carbon nitrogen ratio.
http://www.composting101.com/c-n-ratio.html
Keep the additions balanced around 30 to 1 and it will decompose faster.:thumb:
 
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Mulch the leaves in good and some chicken manure or cow. The cow has weed seeds in it and is not as good. The chicken is hot so it needs to rot down all winter or it will burn the young plants and they will die. I am not sure if the ground freezes if it will mulch down quick enough but the leaves should be ok. Maybe get the manure and put it in a pile with some leaves and the stuff from the kitchen like coffee grounds egg shells and vegies all good stuff for mulch let it do its thing and don't put straw in it it sucks the good stuff out of the mulch..
 

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Rabbit doodoo is good; not too hot like chicken poopies. Chicken doody has a lot of nitrogen in it and that has to be composted before it's usable. Rabbit doody, on the other hand, is fine to use as is.
 

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Tilling the soil now is great. Hard freezes during the winter will kill the roots and seeds of unwanted vegetation and reduce the maintenance load next season.
Check with your soil conservation department or similar state office and ask about a soil test. Every state has an office that tests soil and recommends additives such as fertilizers, nitrogen, etc. There is probably a small fee for the service.
 
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